Friday, November 30, 2012

Getting Started With Social Media-Part 1 of 3: Cool Time Management Tools

(Part 1 of a 3-Part Series to continue next week)
"We need a strategy," nonprofit executives say.

"We need a strategy," the small business owner tells the social media consultant.

"We need a strategy," the CEO of xyz Corporation tells the Mark/Comm team.

Everyone with a cause, a business, or a service, has a reason to be effective online, which means having a strategy with your social media to avoid getting lost in the frenzy of online communications. For many of us, the reasons below form the foundation of the strategy:

    • To build your business profile and visibility
    • To promote a cause or launch a campaign
    • To network with other businesspeople
    • To reach new clients/customers
    • To stay connected with existing clients/customers
    • To gather feedback and provide customer service
    • To launch new services or products
If any of these relate to you and you're just getting started, or you are reassessing your strategy, it's important to follow best practices for social media in order to avoid overwhelm and frustration. A few rules of thumb to get started...

  • be clear about the "why"
  • stay focused
  • balance personal and professional
  • don't think more is better
  • have some personality and find your voice
  • listen, monitor, and be responsive
  • get graphic
  • integrate your brand

Now, consider the following in Part 1 of this series, which focuses on time management. Stay tuned for Part 2 coming next week on Audience and Relevancy, and Part 3, on Metrics and Assessment.


How much time and resources will be allotted to social media?

It is not a myth that social media can be a huge drain on time, particularly when there is no strategy. The more your strategy is in place, the easier it is to align it with your toolkit, which can automate and help manage the work.

  • Hootsuite is a popular dashboard that allows you to view multiple accounts at once, including your Twitter stream, Facebook feed, and keyword alert updates. You can also use it to schedule posts in advance, monitor when your brand is being mentioned, and get notifications when you receive direct messages.
  • I also like Buffer, which recently redesigned its interface to make posting easier, including image uploads for iPad folks like me. Below is a screenshot of my dashboard on the new Buffer platform. The Settings allow you to schedule your preferred dates and times for posting.
  • Nutshell Mail is a great aggregator to view all your social media streams, including your own, in your in box. The platform allows you to control the frequency of your email notifications, as well as which social media profiles you want to view. You can also reply to posts and post yourself directly through the program, launching right from your email.
  • TubeMogul uploads your videos to multiple sites, and also provides viewing statistics from each site.
  • FriendFeed is another aggregator that allows you to easily view and share what your friends and community are posting online.
  • SocialOomph offers a wide variety of features for Twitter, Facebook , and Linked In, as well as blog posts and enews integration. You can schedule updates and tweets, set up keyword alerts, and set up recurring updates.
  • Postling is another dashboard based on the inbox model, aggregating posts, updates, and alerts, in a similar way to Nutshell. Having used both for several years, I find Postling visually easier to view, and the alert notification for keywords is a nice plus to receive right in your inbox. It's also easy to post replies and mentions directly to the Twitter profile you want, which will not work when younget notifications directly from Twitter itself.
These are just a few tools to get started. How about your suggestions? What programs have I left out?

Share your ideas in the comments, and stay tuned for Monday's post focused in Audience and Relevancy, and Wednesday's post on Metrics and Assessment.


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